Only three points separate five teams from the top spot in the 2013 North American Soccer League standings going into Week 8 of the 2013 Spring Season. With the Carolina RailHawks having a bye this week, four clubs - Atlanta Silverbacks, FC Edmonton, Minnesota United FC, and Tampa Bay Rowdies - have the chance to capture sole possession of first place.
For a second consecutive week the finalists from last year’s NASL Soccer Bowl will face-off as the Rowdies host United FC at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday at 7:30pm ET. Last week, Tampa Bay posted a 3-2 victory in Minnesota to extend a perfect road undefeated streak this season. Perhaps surprisingly, the Rowdies will be searching for their first win on home soil.
“We are very aware that we have two big matches in a span of just a couple days,” said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill. “We have been able to win our last two matches and we intend to continue that streak with this weekend's game against Minnesota. We are eager to get on the pitch and pick up our first home win of the season.”
Minnesota coach many Lagos, whose side is unbeaten away from the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome this season, said of last week’s home defeat to the Rowdies: “It was hard to accept that all our offensive work didn’t lead to a victory or to more goals and now we have to figure out a way to come back.”
Another Saturday evening encounter pits the San Antonio Scorpions visiting the Silverbacks at Atlanta Silverbacks Park at 7:30pm ET. The last meeting between the teams ended in a 2-2 stalemate earlier this month in San Antonio and both are now coming off much needed victories last week
Trailing first-place by just a single point, Atlanta handed the league-leading RailHawks their first loss of the season, while the Scorpions earned their first triumph of the campaign by defeating the Strikers.
"We need to make sure that we win our home games and we've done that two out of three times we've played here this year,” said Silverbacks coach Brian Haynes. “It’s time to do it again coming up this weekend against San Antonio. We need to keep them off the board, and we believe we have the ability to get our goals at home. Defensive effort is the most important thing here, and if we go in and play a good defensive game, then we'll get our goals and the result we want."
Scorpions Goalkeeper Jeremy Vuolo said: “I think all of the guys are looking forward to the weekend and getting back on track. It's important that we build off of a positive result against Fort Lauderdale as we look to climb the league table. We've got plenty of points available to us over the next six games and are looking to this weekend as an important step in achieving our goals.”
Rounding out the NASL Week 8 action will be a Sunday afternoon clash as the Fort Lauderdale Strikers visit FC Edmonton at Clarke Stadium in Edmonton, AB, at 4:00pm ET. The previous meeting between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw at Lockhart Stadium to open the 2013 campaign in April.
“We've had a week off to get healthy and prepared for the Strikers on Sunday, which is exactly what we needed after a tough stretch of games over a two week period,” said Eddies coach Colin Miller. “We are in a good position now, just three points out of top spot. If we get results out of our four remaining home games, we have a chance at the Championship. That's our goal.”
Week Eight Schedule (All kickoff times US EST)
Saturday, May 25
Atlanta Silverbacks vs. San Antonio Scorpions
Atlanta Silverbacks Park, Atlanta, GA, 7.30pm
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Minnesota United FC
Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, FL, 7:30pm
Sunday, May 26
FC Edmonton vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Clarke Stadium, Edmonton, AB, 4:00 pm
Bye week: Carolina RailHawks
All games will be streamed live and can be watched via the NASL official website www.NASL.comand at each respective team website.
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|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
|San Antonio Scorpions||14||3||1||10||-9||10|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||6||2||4||4||20|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|